It’s time for winged fury as we arrive in the tenth week of Age of Sigmar releases!
This weekend is the one I’ve been waiting for since that first week of July, when I saw the painting video for the Prosecutors and just fell in love with those models. This weekend is pretty big – in fact, it’s been the most expensive for strictly new models so far, I think! We’ve got the new Prosecutor box, which has so many awesome bits and pieces I feel light headed to think about it, alongside the Knight Azyros kit, which can be built also as a Knight Venator. Got to be honest, I didn’t realise they were the same kit when I made my pre-order, but instead just snapped up both, envisaging a clampack-style character for each. But hey, it means I’ll get a spare phoenix – sorry, star eagle – to do something with…
The upgrade packs are exactly that, upgrade packs, but perhaps the most interesting release this weekend is the battletome for the Stormcast Eternals. Is it a codex/army book? Well, the answer is a resounding “kinda” – it has the warscrolls for the entire range, along with the battalion lists, and some history fluff along with some wonderful artwork and awesome miniatures photography. There are also battle plans, which I feel are recycled but may not be, and the four-page rules that have now made it into every Age of Sigmar book published for the game. However, the feel of it is much less like the codex that we were perhaps expecting, perhaps because we’ve already seen the warscrolls before. Instead, it keeps that feel of being very much like a kids’ annual from back in the day – something I mean in the very best possible way. There are the rules for your game, there are even some scenarios to play through, and there’s all the fluff you could ever want. There are also paint schemes to try, and it comes across more as a sort of toybox of awesome that I’m actually really excited to have, and to read through at my leisure, regardless of whether I’ve had some of it before. It’s by no means super-necessary if you’ve kept up with White Dwarf, but it’s certainly nice to have.
Next week looks like it’ll be the final week of the Stormcast Eternals releases, with just two models to finish off the army. The Knight Heraldor, trumpet in hand, and the Knight Vexillor, carrying the banner aloft. I feel like these are nice throwbacks to the Warhammer Fantasy era of battles, where standard bearers and musicians can affect the morale of your unit or an enemy unit. It’s good to see them having a nice effect in-game, although such effects are only once per game. The Knight Heraldor can blow on his sigmarite trumpet to cause buildings to collapse – scenery itself isn’t damaged, but models close to it will potentially be wounded or killed. The Knight Vexillor can call down a comet onto the battlefield to smite the opponents of order in a similar fashion to the Celestant-Prime, although there is the option of building him with a pennant rather than the full-blown banner. which can serve as the eye of a vortex that will transport friendly units anywhere on the battlefield, the wind then causing your foe to take wounds somehow. It all sounds quite nice for add-on effects, and while I was initially surprised that they are separate models – whereas their Fantasy forebears have been options within a unit kit – they do seem to be suitably grand.
The Heraldor looks a bit weird, having the half-mask that enables him to blow the trumpet and all, though I like how he’s been made to fit in with the rest of the line, particularly the Lord-Celestant with the cloak-hammers. The Vexillor has been a bit of a let-down, if I’m honest – the Retributor armour makes him look a bit too bulky, and the standard itself seems a bit odd in comparison. I feel that Khorne has all the good banners! I’m definitely going for the pennant option, as it looks more in-balance with the rest of him.
I haven’t actually done any painting last week, but have moved on to something that I’m pretty excited about – scenery! Yes, I’m not entirely sure what possessed me, but I’ve built both the Ophidian Archway and Numinous Occulum, as well as finally putting the Lord-Relictor together from the starter set.
The Lord-Relictor does look vaguely silly, I can’t deny, but I’ve done all of the others, so I might as well put him together as well. The scenery is something that I’m very excited to see, as I’ve never done anything like this before! The archway was actually really easy to assemble, being just an archway and two side-pieces. I think the rules for it are pretty hilarious, though, which could have been part of my motivation there – basically, a hero close to the arch can attempt to bring to life the dragon-beast on the stone, and if he fails, it’ll eat him! The Occulum looks amazing, but was an absolute bear to assemble, unfortunately. It also suffers a lot with gaps, so I’ve tried my hand with greenstuff for the first time ever. I’m not entirely convinced by my results, but it’s better than having those dreadful holes in the model! I actually published a more in-depth review over on tumblr yesterday – check it out here!
You’ll no doubt be pleased to know that I also finished reading the Lord of the End Times! The fifth novel in the series sees the world torn asunder, as Archaon the Everchosen overwhelms Middenheim with the massed forces of Chaos in order to awaken an artifact of destruction. Will the massed Incarnates of Magic be able to stop him? Well – spoiler alert – they won’t. If you were any kind of Warhammer fan, you’ll know that the End Times were exactly that when the storyline finished back in May this year, as the Fantasy world was basically annihilated. I hadn’t realised how literal this was – knowing the ending, I became intrigued as to how the story would actually play out, and the answer was, not how I expected. The artifact under Middenheim was a bit deux-ex-machina-esque, admittedly, and a lot of the novel swung between periods where nobody did much of anything, and what can be described as someone’s attempt to storify their latest tabletop wargame. To some extent, I feel bad for any author saddled with writing the apotheosis to a fantasy world as rich and vibrant as this. A lot of big names were brought back only to be killed off – Sigvald, I’m looking at you – while others were thrown in almost at random – Neferata in the epilogue? Why? However, it was still great to see some of them – even Grombindal made his appearance, which was nice!
The novel ends with more than a glimmer of hope and, knowing what we do now about Age of Sigmar’s lore, it actually makes a whole ton of sense. Hindsight is wonderful, after all. So while I enjoyed the first two entries, the final three were a little too clunky for me, and while I would never dissuade anyone from them, I can’t really say you should expect much.
So, I’ve got some models to build and paint. What do you all think of the Stormcast Eternal range now we’re approaching the final models? Love them? Do you disagree the standard bearer looks weird? How about the fifth End Times novel? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!